Hiring an outside B2B marketing agency comes at a cost, but can provide a significant value. In most cases, the value of working with an outside agency greatly exceeds any monthly retainer fees.
Whether you are considering hiring a marketing agency, are in the process of evaluating agencies, or are evaluating your existing relationship with an outside agency, here are a few reasons why hiring an outside marketing agency for your B2B firm makes sense.
Limited Internal Resources
The biggest reason companies look to hire an outside B2B marketing agency is not from lack of internal marketing acumen, but rather because of limited internal resources. For most of the clients Bop Design works with, there are two to three internal marketing professionals who are highly experienced at managing and marketing their firm’s brand. They look to us to help fill in the gaps where they just don’t have the resources.
The three biggest resource limitations many B2B companies face are personnel, time, and budget. While they may have several members on their marketing team (or only a Marketing Director), they aren’t able to add the number of employees they would need to execute a comprehensive marketing strategy. As such, the current team members don’t have time to research all the latest trends or determine the most appropriate methods and channels to use. Lastly, they don’t have the budget to hire an internal team, subscribe to all the necessary tools, or invest in the planning and reporting of strategic plans.
Experts in Marketing
Team of Specialists: You get the best results when you work with experts in the field. For example, you don’t want to have eye surgery from someone who took one seminar on optical health. Partnering with a B2B marketing agency gives a company access to experts in all facets of marketing: design, copywriting, digital outreach, inbound, direct mail, web development, conversion optimization, analysis and tracking, campaign creation, automation, print, advertising, nurturing, etc. The agency employs a team of specialized professionals that has deep skills in a particular area.
Up on Current Trends: In addition to working with an experienced, knowledgeable team, a company working with an agency can be certain the agency employees are current on the latest marketing trends. As an internal marketing professional, you are likely aware of all the recent advances and news affecting your firm’s industry. Likewise, an agency’s employees stay current on the latest trends in marketing and are using them on a daily basis on client campaigns. They know what is working, what is overblown hype and can discuss the latest techniques and tools with you to ensure they are the best fit.
Vendor Relationships: A comprehensive B2B marketing strategy utilizes various channels, tools, and tracking software to ensure that campaigns are working and producing results. Many of these channels, tools, and software require ongoing relationships and subscription services. By working with a marketing agency, a company will experience the benefits of these tools without having to make the additional investment or spending the time to manage them.
For example, Bop Design uses a variety of paid tools on behalf of ourselves and our clients, all of which have a subscription cost. Here is a small sample of the subscription tools we pay for and utilize for our clients:
- Moz – SEO tracking software for monitoring keyword performance and site audits.
- PR Newswire/Cision – Publishing press releases and managing influencer lists.
- Wordsmith – Organizing reporting information.
- CrazyEgg – Heatmapping and A/B testing.
- Staging Pilot – Testing how WordPress and plugins will affect the website in a safe, test environment, rather than a live website.
- Tiny PNG – Shrinks images to a better size for web use.
- GatherContent – Helps clients organize and migrate website content.
- BugHerd – Tracking website bugs during development and content entry.
- And many others
Wait, hiring an outside agency means cost savings? Yes, it does, and we can break it down by the numbers. The minimum folks needed to run a successful B2B marketing strategy complete with blogging, downloadable guides, pay-per-click advertising, email marketing, website updates, and print advertising campaigns requires the following positions:
- Graphic Designer – to make sure all marketing materials are consistent with the brand and source photos, videos, animations and manipulate them for each individual piece.
- Web Developer – to ensure everything on the B2B website works, fix issues as they arrive, manage plugins, code new landing pages or website features.
- Copywriter – to draft and edit all copy and content to ensure the value proposition is clear and the text speaks to the desired audience.
- Pay-per-click Specialist – to manage all PPC campaigns (AdWords, Bing, and Retargeting) to ensure budgets are maximized and driving the right leads (not just traffic).
- Analytics Specialist – to evaluate the efficacy of all programs, ensure everything is tracking properly so campaigns can be evaluated on their ROI and lead generation capabilities.
- Technical Manager – to make sure all things work together seamlessly and ensure the user experience is great and search engines can easily access the website.
- Project/Account Manager – to ensure the strategy is executed properly, all tasks are completed, and the campaigns are driving results. This person is the client’s advocate to ensure everything is seamless and easy for the client, while also completing a lot of the tasks in the campaigns.
Now, these are the minimum of specialists required on a successful B2B marketing campaign. There are many other specialists that can be drawn in as needed: media buyers, SEO managers, content strategists, video specialists, conversion specialists, printers, mail houses, and more.
So, let’s break down the numbers.* We are giving the range, so you can get an idea of entry-level, mid-level vs. highly experienced, skilled employees.
- Graphic Designer $40,000 – 83,250
- Web Developer $62,500 – 110,000
- Copywriter $55,000 – 105,250
- Pay-per-click Specialist – $52,000 – 94,750
- Analytics Specialist $49,000 – 104,250
- Technical Manager – $62,000 – 126,000
- Project/Account Manager – $53,500 – 98,000
If a company hires all these positions at entry level to manage their B2B marketing plan, the minimum yearly spend would be $374,000. For a company looking to hire the best of the best to work on their campaigns, the yearly salary costs (not including money spent directly on advertising) would be $721,500. And this doesn’t factor in the cost of benefits!
Driving & Tracking Measurable Leads
One of the final reasons we’ll cover here (although there are many others) for hiring a B2B marketing firm is to drive and track measurable client leads. An outside marketing agency can build on the great work of an internal team and, without adding any additional overhead, drive additional leads or help to nurture existing leads. It’s important to consider the revenue of a new lead. If a typical deal for a consulting firm is $50,000 with a chance for recurring revenue from future projects, it makes sense to spend money to get more of those types of leads. Closing one lead can often pay for several months of fees for a B2B marketing agency.
While hiring an outside B2B marketing agency isn’t ideal for every single B2B firm, it makes sense for a majority of companies. It enables firms to reach growth projections and increased revenue goals without adding a bunch of overhead or taking time away from servicing existing clients.
*(All salary information was obtained from Robert Half’s 2018 Salary Guide)